From canned wine to Japanese novellas to electro-pop hits, our team shares the very best of what we consumed this month
Read Kappa by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa: Kappa is a novella that really only takes an afternoon to read, but will eat at you for much longer. Its narrator—“Number 23,” a psychiatric patient—tells the story of getting lost in the land of the book’s titular species—scaly, beaked creatures, the size of a child—contending with the contrasts between their value systems and those of Japan. It’s littered with little wisdoms that tug at any impulses you might have toward existentialism; a whole chapter is dedicated to Magg the philosopher’s aphorisms, like: “We are more unhappy than humans. Humans are not as evolved as Kappas,” and, “After Baudelaire went mad, he expressed his life philosophy in one word—cunt. However, it’s not necessarily the case that he himself said this. If anything, it was because he relied entirely upon his poetic genius to support himself that he forgot a much more important word: stomach.”
—Megan Hullander, Print Managing Editor
Decided that golf is my Plan C: This month, I came to the conclusion that if all of this (whatever this is) doesn’t work out, I’ll just become a golfer. I attended my annual Walker family reunion in August, which never wraps up without not nine, not 18, but 36 holes of golf. I—as someone who protects my peace—never attend these escapades, as the vibe isn’t really ‘correct’ (in my opinion). Too many male relatives taking it far too seriously that I’d either giggle my way through the course, or get remarkably pissed off and, I don’t know, break a club over my knee or something. This year, the devil seemed to have possessed me, and I decided to go. I did, in fact, go to golf camp every summer growing up. Mostly so I could wear plaid shorts, Rocket Dogs, and a matching pastel glove. I quit around 12 because I drilled a girl in the forehead on my backswing at the driving range. My fault? Not really, but the guilt was too much to continue my career. Flash forward to now—my little sister and I rent our own cart and speed away from the ‘gentlemen’ of the family. Turns out I’ve still got it. Maybe my form looks a little janky, but I would argue that that’s just style. I can drive the ball almost as far as my dad—and even though he’s shattered both of his elbows and has a very limited range of motion, that’s saying something. I’m even considering bringing a putter to the office to practice hitting into a cup on my breaks. I always knew there was an athlete hiding inside me, and now I have an answer to give when I’m asked about my 30-year plan. It’s golf, baby.
—Syd Walker, Assistant Art and Photo Editor
Ate bok choy, the vegetable: Few foods bring me back from a malnutritioned day like bok choy does. Of all vegetables in the Brassica genus, Miss Choy has been my favorite this summer. Delicious served hot or cold, it’s a nutrient-filled staple in any emergency ramen or cold soba dish—it also goes very well with your favorite chili crisp. Be sure to add this cruciferous leafy green to your meal prep rotation.
—Maya Kotomori, Assistant Editor
Ate raw oysters: Which apparently, we’re not supposed to do anymore. Three people in the New York area died from a flesh-eating bacteria! Vibriosis thrives in warm saltwater, prompting infectious disease specialists to recommend shrimp (or anything steamed or grilled or fried) over half-shells. It’s very sad. I took a little getaway to London, hopped over to Brighton, and had plenty of them to compensate—I think the water is colder there? One plus about the UK, they let you order just one at a time. A very refreshing, careless, lotus-eating way to pass an afternoon.
—Morgan Becker, Digital Managing Editor
Watched Passages at IFC Center: At a time when Online Discourse over sex in movies is at its peak, and puritan influencers are melting down over seeing a flash of ass (or having their husbands shut their eyes while watching Oppenheimer), writer-director Ira Sachs decided it was the perfect moment to bring raw, hot fucking back to the big screen, with his latest film Passages. I was able to catch a screening on my final day of summer vacation. It was held in one of IFC’s more cozy theaters, with only 20-or-so seats facing a screen that would probably look more at home in your living room. But one of the joys of seeing movies in the cinema is the communal aspect—of experiencing this moment with a smattering of strangers. And so, on that 80-degree Friday afternoon, I enjoyed a canned wine and watched Franz Rogowski, Adèle Exarchopoulos, and Ben Whishaw pleasure themselves, others, and each other while groups of friends and maybe lovers cheered, snapped their fingers, gasped, and yelled around me.
—Phil Backes, Director of Partnerships & Social Media
Spent several afternoons at Brighton Beach: Growing up in the city, I never cared for Coney Island. Rockaway was always my urban beach escape, because it has waves—but it requires a full day’s travel with its hour-plus commute by train or ferry. When a friend recommended Brighton for swimming, I had to go. It’s right off the D train, which takes me there in 45 minutes. I’ve gone maybe a dozen times now, and can confidently say it’s a perfect summer-in-the-city interlude. It has the nostalgic vibe of a European working-class beach town, with still, crystal-clear, shark-free water. Russian and Georgian restaurants line the boardwalk for when you’ve swum up an appetite, old men jog along the shore in neon speedos, teenagers make out on the jetty rocks, sailboats float by. Everyone appears to be in a perpetual state of vacation—in the least glamorous, yet slightly camp way.
—Anabel Gullo, Social Intern
Listened to “Ending Credits” by Uhm Jung Hwa on Sifnos: Since I’ve lived in London, I’ve been to big cities in Europe, but never Greece. One of my things is being too niche, and, of course, it happened again over the summer holidays. Spent four days in Sifnos with my best friend, who flew 25 hours from Korea, and I would like to say it was the best trip ever. We rented a car that had had a rough life, and spent each day going to every nook to find every secret beach. In over 95-degree weather, our little Honda was a running jukebox and air conditioner. We especially loved driving down the precarious cliff edge with Uhm Jung Hwa’s “Ending Credits” on. Its lyrics compare relationships between people to cinema. Just as the ending credits go up at the end of a movie, the speaker comforts themself by remembering the past, just after a relationship ends. I know why this track became the song of our summer 2023—we felt that, no matter what relationships would pass in our lives, the ending credits could never go up for our story.
—Serena Park, Fashion Assistant